Prophecies from the Penninsula Written by: Benjamin Pope Mar 21, 2011 10:10am http://leagueunlimited.com/article.php?newsid=20626 When evaluating the chances of the Sea Eagles for the 2011 season, three big questions surfaced, the first about the quality of the halves pairing, the second about the depth (or lack thereof) of the playing roster, and the third about returning champion fullback, Brett Stewart. Yesterday, against the Roosters at the Sydney Football Stadium, the Sea Eagles went a long way to answering those questions. The halvesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦ Rookie halfback Daly Cherry-Evans has had a reasonable entrance in to the top grade, there have been hiccups, but his kicking game has improved as the minutes have ticked by, he is distributing the ball where it needs to go, and the two nervous handling errors from his debut were nowhere to be seen against the Roosters. With Jamie Lyon out with a hamstring injury, Cherry-Evans took over the stressful job of goal kicking and left the ground with a perfect record, proving he has a bit of composure about him, and the 30 metre field goal he produced in the dying seconds of the match showed a little bit of cheekiness, a quality all decent halfbacks possess. Kieran Foran stamped himself on this game, in fact, he stamped himself on the NRL with his performance yesterday, Manly fans have been praising the 20 year old for some time, and yesterday he finally delivered on his potential. With the game still in the balance, Foran took it upon himself to take the young and willing Manly side by the scruff of the neck and drag them to victory. First he scored the try that took Manly to the lead for the third and final time, and then it was his defence that came to prominence. Several big hits boosted the adrenaline of the men around him and the Sea Eagles went about bashing the Roosters in to submission for the final 15 minutes of the game, the intensity showed in that short time was a glimpse of the Manly sides of 2007-08. It was great to watch and would have sent shivers down the spine of onlooking rivals. Foran is a true leader and a star of our game, his performance yesterday confirmed it, Manly need to lock him up long term, as quickly as possible. DepthÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦ With so many players out for yesterdays clash, Manly's depth was going to be utilised much earlier in the season than expected, the question can be pushed aside for now; the Sea Eagles have proven they have quality in their ranks. Des Hasler, Noel Cleal and the rest of the recruitment team have done all the right things. Will Hopoate made his first appearance in the centres and did not look out of place, a lot of traffic was directed his way and he handled it well, he also made over 100 metres with the ball in hand, it was a good sign for Manly officials who will be desperate to find a permanent spot in the top 17 for him over the next 12 months to keep him at the club. Two players made their debuts from the bench, Tim Robinson and Daniel Harrison, and along with two other relatively unknown forwards, Vic Mauro and Jamie Buhrer, the quartet all made quality contributions. Buhrer in particular has been tremendous in these first two games of the season, he's a tireless worker, exactly the type that would have Des Hasler swooning, and he has cemented his place in this side. StewartÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦ Brett Stewart was named captain for yesterday's game, it was a great move by Des Hasler, he could have named Brent Kite or Matt Ballin and nobody would have queried it. Stewart's confidence most likely was given a boost by the honour when he most needed it, with the performance making it all the more sweet. Like Cherry-Evans, Stewart has been getting better as the minutes tick by, he set up the first try yesterday drifting across field before turning it inside to Tony Williams to fall over the line and he has been like a bloodhound sniffing for offloads around the ruck, however, the most impressive aspect of his return has been his defence and ability to defuse the ball, whether it be in the ground or in the air, the fearlessness and instinct he had two years ago is still there and serving Manly well. Stewart makes his long anticipated return to Brookvale next week, his favourite place to be, he always has a knack for doing something special on the big occasions at Brookie so don't be surprised if he scores a double. It's amazing what can happen in a week of rugby league, last weekend Manly fans had their heads down with little optimism, this week they will be strutting down The Corso with their heads held high. I can't wait to see what happens next week.